Brokers Weekly

New day dawns for booming Battery Park City

Published: 10/1/2008
Source: Brokers Weekly
Viewed 564 Times
Viewed 564 Times

On its website, Battery Park City's slogan is "Battery Park City: Who knew?"


Elizabeth "Betsy" Buhler, for one. The broker with Citi Habitats has known for a long time that there is no other place she would rather live.


"I've been here 22 years and it's just gotten better," said Buhler. "The neighborhood has matured. It has become a full residential neighborhood for both families and professionals and just about everybody who is looking for this lifestyle and quality of life."


The neighborhood was created during the construction of the World Financial Center and is named after Battery Park. After 9/11, when the neighborhood was covered with dust and debris, declared a crime scene and residents were forced to leave their homes for weeks, some didn't return.


Others, though, like Buhler, did, and Battery Park rose back from the ashes, literally.


John McClave, another broker with Citi Habitats, has lived there for 20 years. He said that he has watched it evolve to what he calls a "vertical suburb."


Victoria Terri-Cote, a broker with Corcoran Group, agrees.


"It's like a magical place in New York where you can leave New York mentally without having to leave it physically,' she said.


Indeed, the 92-acre Battery Park City, on Manhattan's lower end, is a model of how residents and the government can come together to create what residents call an oasis in the a city full of chaos.


The area is owned by the Battery Park City Authority, and residents pay PILOT (payment In Lieu of Taxes) taxes, rather than property taxes to the city. The authority says "private partnerships will continue to be the model for private sector development utilizing a competitive public bid process to optimize value."


Boats sail past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Around every comer, it seems, is a lush, grassy park.


"I think this is a miraculous neighborhood, and I am not saying this loose-lipped," Buhler said. "I was here on 9/11 and I thought that my neighborhood would never come back. And I mean this sincerely - it has come back bigger, better and stronger than ever. This is a cutting-edge, wonderful neighborhood. No one has to wait for it to become something wonderful, because it already is.


"And it's more than just a neighborhood. For some people, it's too quiet and not New Yorkish enough. But for me, it's perfect. It's safe, it's clean, it's beautifully landscaped. I love the public areas and the bike paths."


According to the authority, Battery Park City now has 9.3 million of s/f of commercial space, 9,000 residents, 35 acres of parks, 52 stores, 22 restaurants, 20 public works of art, three hotels, including the swanky Ritz-Carlton, a 1.2 mile esplanade along the Hudson River, a marina, the Jewish and Skyscraper museums, and, of course, the World Financial Center. The Goldman Sachs World Headquarters, a 2.1 million s/f tower, is expected to open in 2009.


Forty years after the development of Battery Park City was first undertaken, the neighborhood is approaching completion of its master plan. With the development of the Goldman Sachs HQ and a planned elementary school at Site 2B, all development parcels in Battery Park City are now built out or under development.


Charles Dayan and Andrew Heiberger are about start sales at the new One Rector Park, a former rental building converted to luxury condos. Heiberger said the development was a no-brainer. "There are really no neighborhoods in Manhattan quite like Battery Park."


Price points vary for apartments of course, but Buhler said rentals for a one-bedroom start at about $2,700, and sell for $650,000 and up.


"Prices here are very approachable," she said. "They keep abreast of what is going on in the rest of Manhattan, but the asking price points are lower."


And the apartments are greener, too. Battery Park City is considered to be the "greenest" neighborhood in Manhattan, and has the awards to prove it.


The authority implemented green guidelines that new condos must follow.


The Solaire, built by the Albanese Organization, was a pioneer in the neighborhood's green movement and the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green residential building in the US.


Just last week, the Visionaire, a condo building also developed by Albanese, won New York City's "Green Building" competition.


Another new condo, Riverhouse - built by the Sheldrake Organization and home to such environmentally-conscious celebrities as Leonardo DiCaprio - features a triple-glass curtain wall, the first of its kind to be used in a residential building. It allows residents to control the interior temperature of their homes, using natural convection to vent unwanted heat in the summer and provide an additional level of insulation in the winter.


Sheldrake too set new standards for green design with the 264-unit luxury condo that's 75% sold out.  Said Christopher Daly, Sheldrake's president, "Battery Park City Authority's vision for sustainable urban living has created a remarkable green community in Lower Manhattan."


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Vice President of Public Relations
p (212) 848-0488
f (212) 415-6064
Public Relations Coordinator
p (212) 848-0453